Gizmodo Says Gadgets Aren’t Sexy, Really Gizmodo?

The word "sexy' crossed out

Gawker Media’s Gizmodo has recently taken a stab at technology writers who use the word ‘sexy’ to describe beautiful technology products. Mat Honan, senior reporter at Gizmodo, realizes that Gizmodo is one of the worst offenders. In one post Gizmodo writers describe how the Olympus PEN Mini was “comparable in size to its sexy older cousin”, the blogger said “change must start at home, so we’re ending the practice now. You’ll not see it used here improperly again.”

Maybe Gizmodo doesn’t subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary’s two definitions of the word “sexy”, one “sexually attractive or exciting” and the other informal use of “very exciting or appealing” but Honan can’t contain the rant targeting popular technology writers saying “Walt Mossberg! Please explain to me exactly how you intend to use this Dell touch screen in a sexually stimulating way!” Doing the same for David Pogue and Joshua Topolsky in cruder words.

If Gizmodo doesn’t like informal usage of words their argument would be much stronger if they didn’t start it like this: “tell me, do you intend to f**k it, or do you simply plan to shove it up your ass?” Last time I checked those expletives were the overused clichés.

Cisco: Devices Will Outnumber People 2 to 1 by 2015

Visualization of the various routes through a ...
Image via Wikipedia

Cisco has today released their annual Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast with data from 2009-2015. The forecast predicts that there be 15 billion network-connected devices which would outnumber humans 2:1.  They also estimated that 40% of the world’s population in 2015 would be using the internet, 2009 World Bank data showed that 27.1% of the world had access to the internet.

Cisco says that 674 days worth of video will be consumed adding to nearly a trillion gigabytes of internet protocol (IP) traffic. Other factors listed for the increase include more devices, internet users and faster broadband speeds. In one year, the average speed of broadband rose from 3.5mbps to 7 mbps, with predictions it could reach 25mbps.

There are also changes from sources of traffic with Asia expected to generate the most internet traffic overtaking North America. The two fastest growing regions are Africa and the Middle East, though South America is also developing fast.

Cisco has also published an infographic of their collected research, which breaks down statistics by number of users per country and a visualization of the different IP traffic sizes.

What Are the Most-Visited Websites?


One of the general curiosity many web users have is what websites are most internet users visiting around the world. Estimations on the visitors have been provided by Google in a list of the most-visited websites.

Google’s statistics are based on unique visitors and is measured by Ad Planner. Google list the top ten websites as Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Windows Live, Wikipedia, MSN, Baidu, Blogspot and Microsoft. According to the statistics, Wikipedia is the highest non-advertising website and Facebook has 590,000,000 users. The entire list contains the category, unique visitors, page views, reach and advertising of 1000 websites.

Ad Planer gets information from Google Toolbar users, Google Analytics and other external sources of data according to the Google FAQ, though it states that most of the features are opt-in.

In-depth demographics are also provided for each website such as average time on the website, education, age, gender and household income by clicking on a link to the website in the list. For example, Facebook users spend an average of 25 minutes on the website and visit it 14 times on each cookie.

View the World Another Way With Equal-Area Projections

Gall–Peters projection
Gall–Peters projection

The Gall–Peters projection is a map projection, which unlike the one most of us see commonly, shows the equal-area of countries. At first, the map looks strange but the reason for this is that the one we see everyday, the Mercator projection, increases the sizes of countries and continents the further they are from the equator.

The True Size of Africa
The True Size of Africa by Kai Krause

The size of Africa has been so vigorously changed that Africa can actually fit the United States of America, China, India, Japan and most of the European countries as seen in the The True Size of Africa map by Kai Krause. Kai Krause said that many American school children said that the United States was the biggest country in the world and had a population of 1-2 billion adding that ‘even with Asian and European college students, geographical estimates were often off by factors of 2-3. ‘

There are, of course, many other projections for maps. NASA has developed free G.Projector software for Windows, Linux and Mac which has over 90 map projections, though they also host different types of map projections for viewing without the software.

The Economics of Seinfeld Popularizes Economics

Soup Kitchen International
Image via Wikipedia

The Economics of Seinfeld was created by university professors, showing that economics is everywhere, even in the television audience’s sitcom comedy favorite, Seinfeld.

‘The Soup Nazi makes delicious soup—so good there’s always a line outside his shop,’ explains the Economics of Seinfeld on the Soup Nazi episode, however he has a monopoly on the soup market, demonstrating barriers to entry and monopoly power.

An unlikely economics lesson is gained from the Marine Biologist episode, Elaine receives an electronic organizer storing all her events on it until it gets lost. The website explains ‘if she hadn’t put all of her eggs in one basket (her events in one organizer), she could have reduced her exposure to risk.’

The website integrates clips from Seinfeld sourced from Critical Commons and explanations of the economics in the episode are discussed. Everything from competition to cost-benefit analysis and an index is included to find a specific concept.

What They Feed Kids in School Cafeterias

17% of U.S. children are obese and one-third of all U.S. are obese costing the country over $147 billion in 2008 due to obesity-related medical care costs in 2010 yet processed foods and advertising from ‘junk food’ companies are still allowed in schools. In 2010, the USDA released changes to the school meal standards lowering the amount of starchy foods, yet sugar is still not regulated.

School Cafeteria Oatmeal in Washington DC
Oatmeal with Peaches. Photographed by Ed Bruske.

‘Instead of serving the peaches in a plastic cup on the side, the canned fruit is mixed right in with the oatmeal,’ writes Ed Bruske on the Better D.C. School Food blog, which promotes healthy eating in the District of Columbia, and regularly publishes photographs with cafeteria servings. “The carrots and broccoli arrive already cut into pieces and refrigerated in plastic bags,” he writes adding that many vegetables will get pushed into the rubbish bin.

School Cafeteria Chicken
Cajun Chicken. Photographed by Ed Bruske.

The District of Columbia passed the Healthy Schools Act last year which aims for all schools to reach the ‘gold-standard’ of the HealthierUS School Challenge run by the USDA. As part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move money to the sum of $2,000 is given depending on the standard reached in the HealthierUS School Challenge. More photos of the lunches are available from Ed Bruske on the Better D.C. School Food blog under the title of  ‘What’s for Lunch’.

Many schools are also turning to providing foods that are not part of the usual school meals program, to supplement money granted from the USDA school meals program. Around 64% of middle and high schools offer sugar drinks for sale as ‘competitive foods’, in that they are sold separately from the USDA school meals program whilst 49% allow the advertising of less healthy foods in their schools according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Pushing out chicken nuggets, fries and chocolate will be hard but asking school councils and districts for small changes to school menus is a feasible step that will cut the $147 billion Americans spent on obesity care costs in the future and promote healthy living for the future generations.

What Was the ‘S’ Thing We All Drew?

Remember this logo? More than 450,000 people remember it and have liked the Facebook page called “That ‘S’ Thing We All Drew In School“. How did the ‘S’ thing, sometimes known as ‘Super S’  or the Stussy symbol come about?

Many internet boards and Reddit have discussion on the topic in multiple posts. There is a general consensus that this is the logo of Stussy, a popular clothing company which originated in the United States. However, there appears to be no real example of Stussy ever using the logo. Some users even commented that the logo was banned in their school due to connections to gangs.

It is likely that the ‘S’ thing was spread simply because it looked interesting and was later given the name of Stussy, even if it didn’t have a connection to the brand.

Know of its origin? Remember drawing it? Comment below.

Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ Released

Ubuntu Unity in Version 11.04

The fresh new user interface called Unity has debuted on Ubuntu today. The latest edition of Ubuntu,  version 11.04 code named ‘Natty Narwhal’, has been released. The download is around 700mb for the ISO file for the 32-bit version of Ubuntu, instructions on using the ISO file and download information is available on the Ubuntu website.

Desire Paths: The Shortcut Path

Flickr @nevolution

Desire paths are surprising common. They are found at libraries, school buildings and nearly everywhere with large grass patches that is often traversed. Desire paths show where people want to walk (hence the name desire path), why walk around when you can walk through and save time? Often this constant walking of the same path will create visible erosion, there is even a Flickr group dedicated to desire lines and has 452 photos of them and over 350 members.

Desire paths can help with the planning of paths. In Disneyland, areas of grass were left without fencing to see the most common path then paved over according to JustDisney. Using desire paths may be the best way to design paving, especially in schools when the ‘voters’ of the prominent desire path includes thousands of students.

Quora, Reddit, Foursquare Down after Amazon Web Service Fails

The Reddit pages say ‘Amazon is currently experiencing a degradation. They are working on it’ with a video and a ‘simulated reddit’ for withdrawal symptoms linking to several Google websites and Github.

The current status can be viewed at the AWS service dashboard. HootSuite  and Mobypicture are also just some of the other sites effected. View some of the ‘down’ pages below.

Update: Websites still offline. Amazon status still reporting downtime. 13:12 (GMT)